As I write this, it seems certain that Rangers will be announcing Steven Gerrard as their new manager (head coach surely, if we have a director of football?) within the next couple of hours. While some of my fellow fans seem giddy with excitement about the news, I’m less enthused.
The Liverpudlian is a huge name in world football, but he has no real management experience. That represents a bit of a risk, which is something most of us would agree on, but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere. You could argue that Ibrox isn’t just somewhere though. Rangers have been back in the top flight of Scottish football for two seasons and have managed to burn through four managers, a dozen centre-backs, and scores of midfielders in search of the answer to the ultimate question; can Rangers challenge Celtic?
That answer has been a resounding ‘no’ so far. The brave managerial knights attempting to complete this quest have been the naive, inflexible Mark Warburton, the hapless Pedro Caixinha, and the nice, naive, inflexible Graeme Murty. None of these appointments seemed to have the wherewithal to fix Rangers’ appalling defence, or introduce any sort of tactical adaptability to their play.
Could Gerrard be that man? I have my doubts. I don’t remember him being a player renowned for his tactical prowess or positional discipline, two things this Rangers team needs. Not many of the current squad are held in particularly high regard, but I believe an excellent manager coach could sort out the defence and the midfield/system and wring out another 6-9 points per season, without changing the position all that much. Sure, he could buy some new players, but that means Rangers spending more money they don’t really have, and doing that every six months is unsustainable. For that matter, giving an untested manager a three or four year contract appears an act of folly on the part of the board.
I suppose I’m concerned that Gerrard is a marquee appointment, and Rangers are where Celtic were in the 90s, putting big names in the football world in control, being obsessed with attacking football, but ultimately not winning anything. And the concern for me is that if Celtic make it 8-in-a-row next season, the pressure on the Rangers manager (whoever that is) will get even heavier.
Still, I obviously still hope Gerrard delivers success for Rangers, but I can’t help get the whiff of the Warburton hype around this appointment.